Power Connecting Strategies for Women: Using Our Strengths to Build Dynamic, Effective Networks

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A few years ago when founder of 30SecondMobile Elisa All went to a meeting of the Chicago Founders Circle (an invitation-only, peer-to-peer networking group for CEOs of emerging growth companies in the Chicago area), she was disappointed to see that there were only two other women in the room. Unfortunately, this is still a common experience: Women who attend industry functions or local Chamber meetings often find themselves in the minority. And in fields such as technology, venture capital, and high-level funding—my areas of expertise—women business owners are even fewer.

As someone who has studied strategic business relationship creation for three decades, I believe that women need to develop greater expertise in creating what my friend, Kay Koplovitz (founder of USA Network), calls “human capital networks”—people with whom we can be very open and who will give us the best advice while we do the same for them. We must become power connectors: individuals who add value by putting the best people in touch with the best resources, with the goal of creating greater success for all concerned.

During my thirty-plus years in business, I have noticed that male and female power connectors go about building their networks in different ways. Here are four suggestions to help women develop the strong, connected relationships that will accelerate our businesses.

#1. We must be strategic in developing our networks.

Women tend to reach out to broad coalitions and develop extensive connections with a lot of people. “We’re wired to form alliances, to cooperate and collaborate, and to support each other,” says CEO of the All Access Group Kelli Richards. Unfortunately, we also can find ourselves (1) swamped by the number of relationships we are trying to maintain, or (2) failing to develop new relationships because we know how much effort it takes to stay connected.

To be as strategic in developing business relationships as we are in utilizing any other asset, we must target the relationships that will provide maximum benefit to our businesses, and then follow a system to keep those relationships strong and vital. I utilize a 5+50+100 model that identifies my five closest relationships, the 50 people key to my one-year goals, and the 100 people with whom I need to stay in touch based on my long-term goals. With this system, I can keep current relationships strong while I find and build new relationships as needed.

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Judy Robinett

Judy Robinett

Judy Robinett is the author of How to Be a Power Connector: The 5-50-150 Rule. She is a business thought leader who is known as "the woman with the titanium digital Rolodex." Learn more about Judy and her work.

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